The Endurance of Selfless Giving

Saturday, December 18, 2010
By SeattleTool

‘The season of giving’ is a phrase that, in the wrong context, can become trite, a throwaway line that’s unlikely to garner so much as a second thought.

But it doesn’t take long to find the long lasting results of real giving in action at this time of year . . . if you’re thirsting to go beyond platitudes and signs at the mall.

For instance, the 40-year tradition of the province of Nova Scotia trucking a 12-15 meter high Christmas tree to the Boston Common -- the large park that’s the focal point of that city’s Christmas celebrations -- is a symbol of gratitude and good will that keeps memories of a past good deed alive.

In 1917 one of the largest accidental explosions in history leveled the city of Halifax (two ships, one of them loaded with munitions and TNT, collided in Halifax harbor), killing nearly 2000 people. That night (December 6) the people of Boston jumped into action, sending two trains full of medical and relief supplies and personnel -- enough to outfit a temporary 500-bed hospital.

The selfless actions of doctors, nurses and aid workers who leapt onto those trains to help is recognized each year in the green bows and shining lights of Halifax’s gift. This year the towering white spruce, donated by a resident of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, will be lit on the night of December 2.

The story of the gift tree is sentimental enough to be an endearing Christmas classic. Yet, it’s not all window dressing. It’s a symbol of how deeply those in need are touched when others give of themselves. An initial act of kindness often has a ripple effect that grows, in this case for decades, keeping the true spirit of that gesture alive.

That’s our hope for this Christmas season -- that, in some small way, we will contribute to helping you give your time and attention to those around you, causing a ripple effect in your family and, perhaps, the community around you.

We believe that the giving spirit that flows out of the first Christmas -- that all encompassing gift of a saviour to the world -- most easily finds its way into our hearts at this time of year, when we take time to pause and look around


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